Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs

Updated on March 25, 2013
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Adrienne is a former veterinary hospital assistant, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

Coconut oil offers many benefits to dogs.
Coconut oil offers many benefits to dogs. | Source
A sleek, shiny, glossy coat is often seen after about a month of giving coconut oil.
A sleek, shiny, glossy coat is often seen after about a month of giving coconut oil. | Source

What is Coconut Oil and How Can it Help my Dog?

As the word implies, coconut oil is an oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts obtained from tropical coconut palms. However, upon purchasing coconut oil for your dog, don't expect it to be liquid. It's rather solid, when kept at under 75 degrees, just as your average lard or butter. However, unlike butter that can soon turn rancid, coconut oil can last up to 2 years, courtesy of its high levels of saturated fat which makes it slow to oxidize.

Coconut oil has had a bad reputation due to this though. Several health organizations have warned people about the risks of consuming high amounts of coconut oils due to its levels of saturated fat. In the 1980s and 1990s coconut oil was seen less and less due to its terrible reputation. It was then replaced by other vegetable oils that turned out often being far more harmful. Nowadays, coconut oil has made a big comeback, and several people seem to be investing in it so much that some stores cannot keep up with the demand.

Buying coconut oil for your pooch is not a bad idea. Your dog will reap the benefits, but you can too and in many ways. Look up the health benefits of coconut oil for humans. Also, because of its nutty flavor, coconut oil is often used in cooking. Movie theaters use it to pop their popcorn and for a good reason, it gives popcorn a wonderful flavor other oils can't beat!.

So why is coconut oil good for dogs? First of all, consider that saturated fat was unjustly accused of being bad in the 1950s, promoting high cholesterol and heart disease, when in reality it was trans fat to be bad. Saturated fat, therefore obtained a bad rep because it was confused with trans fat. In coconut oil, while 90 percent is saturated fat, at least 50 percent of this fat is lauric acid which is blessed with antibacterial and anitiviral properties. Lauric acid is the same compound found in mother's milk along with the many disease-fighting qualities.

Best of all, you can share the coconut benefits with your dog. According to, you should have two types of oil in your kitchen: extra-virgin olive oil used raw for salads and coconut oil for frying. Turns out, coconut oil is the most stable oil that resists heat-induced damage and also keeps your heart healthy, keeps good cholesterol levels and supports weight loss. Not to mention the oodles of benefits from using this oil--both for humans and dogs--

Coconut Oil Dosage for Dogs

What's the dosage for coconut oil in dogs? According to veterinarian Karen Becker (in the video below) the dosage of coconut oil for dogs is one teaspoon for every 10 to 20 pounds of weight. Initially, you may want to start with little doses to see how your dog responds.

Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs

For thousands of years, inhabitants of the tropics have used coconut oil both for cooking or health. What these populations have in common is that they're healthy and for a good part thin. Most of the Pacific Islanders who used coconuts regularly, were found to be free of heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses so common in our neck of the woods. Just as in humans, the list of benefits derived from coconut oil use in dogs is long. While not many studies have been conducted, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence from owners reporting dramatic changes in the dog's coat and overall health. For a good part, dogs enjoy many of the same benefits humans get from this wonderful oil. Coconut oil works from the inside out, and can also be used topically other than ingested. Let's take a look at some of the many benefits.

Benefits of Giving Your Dog Coconut Oil:

  • Reduces cancer and other degenerative diseases
  • Helps with digestive issues
  • Helps prevent bacterial, viral and fungal infection
  • Relieves arthritis
  • Promotes healthy thyroid
  • Is known for regressing Alzheimer's disease
  • Reduces allergies
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Provides energy
  • Reduces dry skin in the winter
  • A good remedy for dry skin on the elbows, dry noses and dry paw pads
  • Reduces "doggie odors"

Benefits of Applying Coconut Oil Topically to Your Dog

  • Promotes healing of wounds
  • Disinfects cuts
  • Reduces moles, sebaceous cyts and skin tags

Dr. Karen Becker in the video below discusses the health benefits of giving coconut oil to your dog and also suggests using it to hide pills. Most dogs love to lap coconut oil right off the spoon and will just swallow the pill along.

Not all coconut oil is created equal. Look for unrefined, virgin coconut oil, made from fresh coconuts and preferably stored in glass jars. Refined coconut, often labeled as RBD is for the most part the cheap coconut oil you find in the skin and hair care compartment of department stores. This oil is obtained from dried coconut using chemicals and lacks all the good nutrients found in unrefined coconut. The country of origin can be anywhere in the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, Hawaii, Mexico, Jamaica, Belize, Fiji or Sri Lanka. It's not a bad idea to invest in higher quality coconut oil, even though it's a bit more pricey; you'll ultimately get a good return on your investment.

*Note: Always consult with your vet before adding any supplements to your dog's diet. Alexadry © All rights reserved, do not copy.

Dr. Karen Becker Discusses Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs

Questions & Answers


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      • Ariel-Cal profile image

        Evelia Veronica Rivera 3 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

        very interested in trying!

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

        We give it to our dogs and we use it for cooking. The best are the organic ones that are pure and not refined.

      • ocfireflies profile image

        ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

        I have recently become interested in the benefits of coconut oil and coconut products in general. It did not occur to me that my dogs could also benefit. Thanks for the info-very helpful. Kim

      • Monis Mas profile image

        Aga 4 years ago

        That's what I was thinking. Thanks again!

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

        Many dogs love it and they'll just lick it off the spoon. If you look at the video by the vet I posted, she suggests using it to hide pills, so looks like many dogs must like. Some though add it to the food.

      • Monis Mas profile image

        Aga 4 years ago

        Good to know. I have coconut oil at home, but I didn't know I could give it to my dog. Do you add it to the food?

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

        You bet wetnosedogs! At least she'll lick off something good for her-- a win-win situation!--

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

        Thanks for the votes up Donna! I am starting to love it too and it makes my hair soft and shiny too!

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

        Larry, thanks for your expert input on this. It helps clarify the myth of the "Saturated fat monster" --love that name--!

      • wetnosedogs profile image

        wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

        This is most interesting and I would love to get some for putting it on (especially Bella) topically. She licks creams off when I need to put them on. If she licks the coconut oil off, it would be beneficial in her tummy, too!

      • DonnaCosmato profile image

        Donna Cosmato 4 years ago from USA

        Thanks for informing folks about the many benefits of coconut oi. We use it exclusively in our baking and cooking and both our dog and cat love it. You mention using it topically for dogs but it is equally as healing for humans with dry skin problems. Great hub, voted up.

      • Larry Fields profile image

        Larry Fields 4 years ago from Northern California

        Hi alexadry,

        Thanks for putting another nail into the coffin of Politically Correct diet. Back in the day, publicity hound Ancel Keys (spelling?) promoted the myth of the Saturated Fat Monster. These days, scientifically informed people know that this particular Scare-of-the-Month-Club item is a half-truth.

        The 2 most common saturated fatty acids in the typical American diet are palmitic acid and stearic acid. The former contributes to atherosclerosis, while the latter is as benign as the oleic acid in olive oil. However the two are usually found together in foods in varying proportions.

        All trans fatty acids are unsaturated. And the main sources are margarine (which was falsely touted as being more healthful than butter); and shortening, which is added to a variety of 'junk' foods.

        I even wrote a long, boring hub about this stuff.

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

        Thanks for commenting and stopping by Jocent. "The Tree of Life" is a beautiful name! Thank you for your expert advice on this, I will look for the VCO oil. The coconut oil in the oil section of my local store carries only refined coconut oil:( The label proudly states it has no coconut taste. What's wrong with coconut taste? I love it and my dogs do too!

      • jocent profile image

        jocent 4 years ago

        You have high praises for the processed coconut oil and it truly makes us and our country proud of the Tree of Life. Coconut industry is one of the major export of the Philippines. Coco oil has been the topnotcher among the products but there is a new and more popular oil that is naturally processed without heat and is called "Virgin Coconut Oil" or VCO. It has a lot of positive and clinically proven curative powers. Maybe you can try this on your dog.